Anti-aging gene therapy for mice

A virus expressing telomerase enzymes in mice has extended their lifespan up to 24% with a single treatment.  One year old mice get the full benefit.  Two year old mice get about a 13% lifespan boost.  No increased cancer incidence was observed.  Can’t imagine what the FDA human trial for this would look like…

Sequencing Risks

A reporter from Bloomberg joins the PGP, only to discover that he carries a rare and potentially pathogenic acquired mutation, found in people with blood disorders.  He doesn’t know how to deal with it, and neither do the doctors, really.  Which is half of what this study is all about.  What do we need to learn as a society to deal with knowing our sequences?  A lot, I’m guessing.

Unnatural Selection

An interesting Q&A from Shanghai Scrap with the author of Unnatural Selection, a book about the world’s 160 million missing girls, abortion, and the “perversion of choice”.  In some Chinese counties, the male to female ratio at birth is skewed as far as 3:2 by elective abortions, which starts having broader societal implications.  How does a western pro-choice feminist reconcile this outcome?  Especially when the choices are predominantly being made by the women themselves.

Womb for Rent

Surrogate pregnancies are becoming common in India.  For roughly the cost of having your own baby in the US healthcare system, you can outsource the task of giving birth to a Gujarati woman.  It sounds like there’s a wide range of conditions, some less ethical than others.  Is it okay to pay someone the equivalent of 10 years worth of wages to bear your child, so that they can give their daughters good dowries?  The mind boggles.  How long until you just upload the two genomes you’d like intertwined, and pick up the baby at the airport 9 months later?  Or even better, maybe someone could take care of them in a well organized creche until about age 5, when they’re all potty trained and interactive.  Choose from our vast selection of native languages and cultural indoctrination schemes!  All the benefits of having kids when you’re 25, without the negative career impacts.  Operators are standing by.

Links for the week of May 29th, 2010

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Continue reading Links for the week of May 29th, 2010

Links for the week of March 4th, 2010

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Continue reading Links for the week of March 4th, 2010